1880-81, enlarged 1902-1904
August Rodin (1840-1917)
Rodin first imagined The Thinkeras a small central figure near the top of The Gates of Hell , a sculpture now installed at the Rodin Museum. The Gates of Hell is based on The Inferno, an epic poem by the Italian poet Dante, and Rodin conceived the contemplative figure as representing the poet's creative force.
Rodin later enlarged The Thinker to monumental scale. In this form, it has come to symbolize all creative thought. The arrangement here, with an architectural façade behind the sculpture, matches Rodin's gravesite near Paris. The bronze cast, made in 1919, was donated to Philadelphia by movie theater magnate Jules Mastbaum.